Case study: Stonegate Pub Company's income drawdown scheme


Tim Painter, HR director at Stonegate Pub Company, shares how to business has helped staff manage their money

“We have not been made aware of any issues of in-work poverty at Stonegate, but in May last year we teamed up with Wagestream to introduce a service that enables hourly-paid employees to access their earned wages at any point during the pay cycle. This helps colleagues to deal with an unexpected bill or other cost that needs paying urgently.

“Using an app employees can see how much they have earned and draw down as much as 30% of that, up to three times per pay cycle. Any amount that has been withdrawn will be deducted from their net pay on payday.

"As well as offering access to their earnings early, the Wagestream app also helps our employees build better financial health. It provides budgeting advice, such as how to understand your payslip, and offers financial welfare support in conjunction with The Money Charity and the Money Advice Service.

“It has been a huge success. More than 6,000 employees have requested a drawdown since we launched it. In addition, if one of our workers is in financial difficulty we direct them to our employee assistance programme, run by the Licensed Trade Charity.

"They are able to offer financial support to employees in the industry who have five years’ service or more. This can take various forms, for example help with buying new school uniforms or replacing a faulty washing machine.

“Stonegate is a rapidly-expanding business; our employee base has increased by 13% since 2017 following the acquisition of a number of new pubs and bars. This year we are set to become the largest pub company in the country with the acquisition of Ei Group.

“Our strategic approach is to grow talent from within, enabling staff to be the best they can be through our ‘bar to boardroom’ career development programme, Albert’s Theory of Progression (ATOP).

"This offers a complete career pathway to take team members to area manager, into operations or head office roles and ultimately to the boardroom, should they have the desire, drive and capability.

“Over the past two years we’ve had more than 4,000 employees engaged with the programme and developed over 300 deputy managers to general manager, enabling them to take on high-turnover businesses, often from a young age.

“Aside from equipping employees with the business and personal skills to manage, ATOP provides support for mental, physical and financial wellbeing, assisting them to better cope with business and personal challenges. This has resulted in improved employee satisfaction scores, reduced turnover and a more engaged workforce.”

This piece appears in the March 2020 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk

Further reading

All work and no pay

Lessons from the Financial Inclusion Summit